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Stereo Working!

28 June 2023
Ontario, Canada
I got my full original stereo system working! My car is a 1991 it had the original head unit, amps were done in mid 2000s, it has the original CD changer but no cartridge. The head unit would not turn on when I got the car. Reading through thread I discovered this is a common problem with these units. I managed to find one that had been reconditioned and working. From many of the threads i read it seemed the consensus is that once it reaches the state of not being able to turn on there was a low chance of it being reparable. Which is why I went down the replacement path.

I don't have cassettes anymore. But I was curious if the tape deck worked. I went to a used record store on the weekend and found a John Lennon cassette for $2 to test it. I will probably never use it again but nice to know it works. ;) Plus I had no idea that records are so popular again. This place was packed and the records were flying off the shelves. I thought I was retro using CDs!

I could not find an original Acura CD cartridge for a reasonable price. Doing research I found references that the Alpine 4905 would fit and work. But, I was not 100% certain. There are lots of these available for reasonable prices. I purchased one for $18.

It finally was delivered today and I can confirm that the Alpine 4905 works! [So if someone else is searching for this you can move forward with confidence] And even better my CD changer works too and sounds great.

It will not play CDs that I have burned myself. I have seen threads where this is mentioned as a problem. There maybe some specific brands of CDs that will work. I have seen some mentions of this. I will try some to test it. The CDs I have tested thus far are Sony and Memorex.

I found some BOSE 901 speakers for a reasonable price so I purchased 3 of them anticipating that 30 year old speakers are probably on their way out. When I clean my window tracks I will take a peek at the speakers. They sound good so I may just keep the ones I bought as backups.

I have not had a car with a power antenna for a long time. Not since my 1999 Acura Integra. (in 1999) So like an idiot I drove the car under my lift which has plenty of clearance for the NSX but not the antenna. :( Lucky I only slightly bent it. After some gentle massaging in my bench clamp I managed to get it straight again. Greased it and it works as it should again. From now on I will park the NSX is a different spot because, I know there is a 100% chance I will forget to turn it off before pulling in.

Even though I am a person who makes their living off selling technology I really like the 1990's stereo tech from some reason. I love the red digital screen and the simplicity of it.
In my S2000 I use a FM transmitter for Bluetooth audio. No modifications needed. Just plug it into the cigarette lighter and tune the radio to the frequency on the device. Plus it adds phone call capabilities through the stereo too. For whatever reason in the classic cars it just feels right to use the CD changers - to me.


Here is an example of one: FM Transmitter
Congratulations on fixing what can be a real journey and welcome to another Canuck! I don't want to sound like an ass, but if you're more interested in sound quality than nostalgia, I would have this advice:
  1. Never put another cassette in your deck. Lots of threads on the cassette getting stuck and bricking your unit, and it cost me a weekend of thrashing about. If you remove the tape deck, this also bricks the unit (poor design).
  2. The CD changer is a great piece of memorabilia from the 90's, but it's skip-prone, will only play original CD format disks, and takes up valuable space in the trunk. Unless you're attached to the look of it in your trunk, ditch it, even at the cost of losing the $18 cartridge.
  3. Get a GROM BT3. It connects to the CD input and pretends to be a CD player but acts as either an AUX or a Bluetooth connector to your phone - higher quality sound and a much bigger library. It can be placed under the head unit (my recommendation), behind the driver's seat, or in the trunk (not recommended)
  4. The GROM has WAY better sound quality with Bluetooth than an audio cassette, cassette modulator, or an FM bluetooth modulator. And it includes a microphone so you can do Bluetooth calls if the roof is on (not a concern for you.) Even better sound quality if you use the AUX in, a $15 add-on option that also includes a USB charge cable for your phone.
  5. Have a serious think about adding door sail tweeters.
  6. Unplug the power to your antenna, or put a switch on the trigger cable (pink?) - several threads on this. I can't understand why the radio puts up the antenna during cassette or CD use. My '91 Accord radio only put it up when you were listening to FM radio.
Hope to see you at NSXPO?
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